Why Hire Good Sound? Why OMB?
Sound is the connection between the artist and the audience. If the sound is poor, the connection is poor, and the emotional response to the artist is reduced, often dramatically. It is consequently true that even small increases in accuracy yield large increases in the level of emotional response because the subtleties of a performance upon which that response depends become available to the audience. If the audience does not respond, they tend not to come back, which is usually blamed on the artist or on the lack appreciation of the audience itself (the audience as philistines syndrome), and of course this is sometimes true, but often it is the sound.
Most sound people are products of rock music where the emotional response is dependent primarily on volume and the drive of rhythm. They consequently value level and punch, and they stack up piles of speakers to get it. But when you have a flute and violin, or a pair of voices to blend, those piles of speakers become your enemy because the phase cancellation they produce (and the distortion produced by two-inch drivers and their horns) blurs the harmonics and the beauty of their balance, and the effect is lost. When rock people buy gear, they tend to buy mics that will withstand the rigors of being bashed and that sound ok over a rock system (and since these systems donít reveal the subtleties from one mic to another, they buy the one that is cheaper); they tend to buy amps that will play loud for less (loud is what they value) rather than amps that are more accurate, and consequently more expensive; they tend to buy processing that gives them wilder effects for less rather than higher quality effects for more; finally, they often come with an attitude that is not conducive to harmony.
It is not that they are always unfriendly or defensive, it is that they come with a set of values that they donít usually question, values that get in the way. They want to plug in any guitar because itís easier than micing it (they donít want to worry about feedback and they donít believe you can get enough level with a mic because you canít on a rock stage). They donít know or donít care that the pickup destroys the beauty of a good guitar because they donít know or donít care that that beauty is available. They will put an old 58 on a flute because they have never heard the difference that a good mic makes on a flute in a high-fidelity system, and often because they have never heard a flute. It is a matter of values. It is a matter of culture.
Rob, Tom, Alicia, Mark, Chris, Ed, and the rest of the people involved with OMB, do this work because we love music and consequently love good sound. We are all musicians, and none of us are rock musicians. One of our guys, Tom Brown, has mixed eighteen number one country hits during his years in Nashville. We know our business.
We buy Neumann, AKG, Sennheiser, Beyer and Audio Technica mics because we can hear the instruments so much better. We buy JBL and EAW speakers because we can make that fiddle sound exactly like itself half way back in the hall with JBLís and EAW's. But we donít buy bells & whistles. When a five-thousand dollar mixer sounds better than a thirty-thousand dollar mixer, we buy it. We donít want you to pay for anything you canít hear.
And what do people say to us when we do a rock band (yes, we too think this is a kick and we dance back behind the mixer), they say Ďman, the band never sounded this good!í Or words to that effect. We donít want to bad-mouth rock too much, after all, our generation invented it.
See ya there.
8102 188th St. Ct. E. Puyallup, WA 98375
Phone: 253-846-8755Fax: 253-210-3642
Cell: 360-981-9260 Email: Rob.Folsom@comcast.net
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